Despite the fact that MAPs suffer from numerous mental health issues,
they seldom seek therapy (Cohen, Ndukwe, Yaseen, & Galynker, 2018). They
feel that they will be misunderstood, judged as dangerous, and treated
unethically (B4U-ACT, 2011b; Cacciatori, 2017; Levenson, Willis, &
Vicencio, 2017). A survey from B4U-ACT (2011a) seems to confirm the basis
for these fears, particularly for those in mandated treatment.
Thus, lack of compassion in mental health services contributes to the
stigma-related stress that keeps MAPs out of therapy even when they need
or desire it (Jahnke, Smith, Geradt, & Hoyer, 2015).
Though professionals are increasingly employing methods like mindfulness
and cognitive behavioral therapy (Walton & Duff, 2017; Bailey, Bernhard,
& Hsu, 2016), some still consider conversion therapies a legitimate way
of “curing” pedophiles of their attraction (Cohen & Galynker, 2009).
Current treatment of MAPs has also largely emphasized
prevention of sexual activity with minors as the primary goal instead of
the MAP’s mental health and well-being (Houtepen, Sijtsema, &
Bogaerts, 2015; Jahnke, Philipp, & Hoyer, 2014; Beier et al., 2007;
“Pessimism about pedophilia,” 2010). This approach often makes it
possible for professionals to distort therapeutic methods (e.g., the
aforementioned CBT) in the name of preventing sexual activity
with minors, which contributes to the lack of faith MAPs have about being
treated with the dignity they deserve, and serves as an additional
deterrent to their seeking help.
B4U-ACT. (2011a). MENTAL HEALTH CARE & PROFESSIONAL LITERATURE. Retrieved from https://www.b4uact.org/research/survey-results/spring-2011-survey/.
B4U-ACT. (2011b). YOUTH, SUICIDALITY, AND SEEKING CARE. Retrieved from https://www.b4uact.org/research/survey-results/youth-suicidality-and-seeking-care/.
Beier, K.M., Neutze, J., Mundt, I.A., Ahlers, C.J., Goecker, D., Konrad, A., & Schaefer, G.A. (2007). Encouraging self-identified pedophiles and hebephiles to seek professional help: First results of the Prevention Project Dunkelfeld (PPD). Child Abuse & Neglect, 33, 545-549.
Cacciatori, H. (2017). The Lived Experiences of Men Attracted to Minors and Their Therapy-Seeking Behaviors (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Walden University, Minneapolis, MN.
Cohen, L.J., Ndukwe, N., Yaseen, Z., & Galynker, I. (2018). Comparison of Self-Identified Minor-Attracted Persons Who Have and Have Not Successfully Refrained From Sexual Activity With Children. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 44(3), 217-230.
Cohen, L.J. & and Galynker, I. (2009). Psychopathology and personality traits of pedophiles: issues for diagnosis and treatment. Psychiatric Times, 26(6), 25.
Houtepen, J.A.B.M., Sijtsema, J.J., & Bogaerts, S. (2015). Being Sexually Attracted to Minors: Sexual Development, Coping With Forbidden Feelings, and Relieving Sexual Arousal in Self-Identified Pedophiles. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 00(00), 1-21. doi: 10.1080/0092623X.2015.1061077.
Jahnke, S., Philipp, K., & Hoyer, J. (2014). Stigmatizing attitudes towards people with pedophilia and their malleability among psychotherapists in training. Child Abuse & Neglect, 40, 93-102.
Levenson, J. S., Willis, G. M., & Vicencio, C. P. (2017). Obstacles to help-seeking for sexual offenders: Implications for prevention of sexual abuse. Journal Of Child Sexual Abuse: Research, Treatment, & Program Innovations For Victims, Survivors, & Offenders, 26(2), 99-120. doi:10.1080/10538712.2016.1276116.
Pessimism about pedophilia. (2010, July). Harvard Mental Health Letter.